Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Beautiful Inheritance

There are certain times of the year that I miss her more than others.  August 19th is one of them.  She was due this day, the same day my sister Kiley made her appearance.   I thought for sure our girl would be a repayment of the sorrow in losing my sister.  I was wrong.  I stood on the church stage singing on August 19th and the tears fell so hard that I couldn’t even get the words out.  My soul surrendered another anguishing exhale as my heart worshiped the God who gives and takes away.

This is the story of my daughter.

We always wanted a whole slew of kids.  Four or five was our number and when we reached three, we needed to pause and take a breath.  Things were difficult in many areas.  Grief.  Finances.  Relationships.  All areas took their toll and we put having more children on the back burner.  In the fall of 2010, we felt released to start praying for the possibility of another child.  During that time period, God made me aware of just how afraid I was to ask for a girl.  I had wanted a daughter since I was a wee little thing and yet all I could see were the blessing of boys.  I had surrendered my desire for a girl long ago, so much so that I was afraid to even ask anymore.  So, I took a big breath and asked the Creator.

Through that time period, Sam (only 5 at the time,) starting praying for a baby sister.  He wanted to name her Nabie and when asked why he wanted a sister, he said, “So I can love her.” 

Days turned into weeks that turned into months. In the busyness of life, I squelched my desire and convinced myself I hadn’t even asked.  While at a charity event, I told God I would take it as a sign that I was supposed to have a daughter if He let me win matching mother and daughter aprons. 

I did.

The aprons are joyful and bright with large pink flowers and I wanted to cry because our God is so personally involved in our lives.

In late April of 2011, I had a vision of her.  I am not prone to having visions, but this one was so clear.  She was around the age of two or three, twirling around in a dance of light.  I couldn’t see her face, but I know she was smiling.  Joy was exploding from her.  She had light brown baby soft hair that was in pigtails.  They had a slight curl to them, as if a curling iron had given each pigtail a big ringlet.

She stole my heart that day.

On June 20th, while in the Florida Keys, I penned out a prayer.  It is the prayer of my daughter.

“I ask you Father, in the name of your Son Jesus, for a daughter.  I ask you for a girl who might reflect your beauty and grace.  I beg for a girl who might bring joy and shalom (wholeness, positive blessing) to our family unit. 

The desire for a daughter has not wanted through the years.  Yes, I have lied and said I am content, but an inner ache remains.

Give me a daughter and a huge taste of how you feel about me as your daughter. 

I pray that she would desire you above all else.  I pray redemption over her at a young age.  I proclaim my seed as blessed.  I pray health and vitality over her.  I pray life over her physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual parts.  I pray a hedge of protection over her and that Satan would never be allowed to touch her.

I pray you give her a spirit that longs to serve and not seek the limelight or attention of others.  At the same time, I pray she is able to use her God given gifts for your glory without fear or reservation.

I pray she is humble, submissive, compliant, and obedient.  I pray she would love much and give much.  I pray a knowledge and wisdom over her mind and spirit that could only be from you.

I pray purity over her whole frame and strength to withstand pressure. I pray a special bond of respect and love between she and her Daddy that won’t be marred with time.

I pray against any tension, anxiety, or jealousy over our mother-daughter relationship.  I pray the wounds of expectation and never achieving the mark and rejection and fear of making decisions would not be passed down in the name of Jesus.

I pray Godly and pure girlfriends over her.  I pray you would gift her with friends who aren’t worried about what the world thinks. I pray her whole life would be gifted with Godly friendships…from start to finish.

I pray a quiet and gentle spirit over her…the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:4)

I pray she would cherish the fact that she can be still and know that God is God, especially among a generation that finds it impossible to be still at all.

I pray she would have a healthy respect for authority and understand her God given female role in God’s story for her life.

I pray she would do others good and not harm.  I pray the spirits of malice, bitterness, manipulation, and judgment would not be found in her.

I pray that she would always be able to laugh at the days to come and that worry would be far from her.  I pray faith, rest, and shalom over her countenance.

I pray, Jesus, that you would fill her with awe and holy reverence for your name, the name above all names.

I pray a spiritual inheritance of knowing and loving the One True God over her.

I pray your delight might be in her.  (Hephzibah:  My delight is in her…Isaiah 62:4) I pray her life might offer a pleasing aroma to those around her.  I pray her presence might bring life and a soothing balm of comfort to everyone she comes into contact with.  I pray rest and tranquility over her countenance that is equally mixed with bubbly joy and a life lived to the fullest.

In vanity, I pray a head full of dark-thick-black hair over her and that she might resemble my beautiful Mother.  I pray she is marked with outer beauty but remembered for her inner beauty.

I pray a special bond between her and her brothers.  I pray that the differences in age would not be a deterrent to strong relationships and ties.  I pray the boys would always have her back and treat her with the utmost love and tender care.

I pray that as she goes through life, her soul might always be able to say, “all is well.”  I pray my favorite hymn might spill over into her life as well…that she too can say, “It is well with my soul.”  I pray a song of praise in her heart that would spill forth from her mouth.”

A solid year passed after I gathered enough courage to ask for a daughter and still, nothing.  When Sam got some pretend money, he saved it to buy his baby sister a dollhouse.  During this waiting period, God started telling me to be courageous.  I had no idea just how much I would need it.

Over these months, God started revealing Himself as El Simchah Giyl, God, my exceeding joy.  His name literally was a double portion of joy and he started to promise me a double portion, as well. On December, 9, 2011, I took a pregnancy test.  The line hinted at the faintest of pinks while the Creator and I celebrated in a triune of intimacy, even though I wasn’t quite sure yet if the results were accurate.

On December 13, Sam, six, made me a paper heart.  He taped it right on my belly.  He patted my belly and told me it was going to have to get really full for his baby sister.  After getting the kids to school, I took another test.  This time, the line quickly turned pink.  I fell to the white bathroom rug, bowed low, and repeated over and over again, “Wonderful are Thy works, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

After getting Sam from half day kindergarten, I pulled into the driveway and noticed the pot of Gerbera daisies that Eric and the boys had gotten for me the previous June.  The daisies were yellow, but only lasted a week or so.  I was so sad to see them die, but I left the pot alone, hoping they might return.  Imagine my astonishment when I peered into the pot only to see the tiniest beginning of a yellow Gerbera daisy poking its way out of the soil.  Perfect little petals in a sunshine hue adorned the green stem.  Typically, Gerbera daisies don’t even bloom in the winter!  God had been extravagant in telling me that He was bringing about new life!

I was overwhelmed at God’s attention to detail and His involvement in my life.

Eric and I rejoiced over our baby for a solid seven days.  And then, on December 19th, God swept her up into His presence.  One of the hardest things I have ever had to do is flush the remains of my beautiful girl. My soul shattered and I swear fragments of it were flushed away with her.  My lips achingly uttered the same Psalm, “Wonderful are Thy works, I know that full well.”

I miscarried, but I didn’t want to miss the spiritual enlargement that might come instead of a protruding belly.

God faithfully revealed Himself as the Master Gardener, the one who skillfully knows what to plant and what to uproot.  It took time, but His grace refused to leave me in my empty and hopeless state.  I learned that the gateway to abundant blessing is always through death.  Seeds must be buried deep in the dark soil before they can ever rise to the surface in new life.

Months passed and Sam continued to speak life over me.  He told me over and over again that I would be a Mommy again.   I would cry and choke down my food and wait to see what God would do with the words of a six year old.

August 19th came, me sobbing on the stage.  We were supposed to be in the hospital, peering into her beauty for the first time, and we had absolutely nothing to show for it.  I had a double portion of ache that day, as I also mourned the ability to celebrate my sister’s birthday.

I was oblivious, but God had already implanted Asher Tate.  I was pregnant this day, and didn’t even know it. I thought all was lost and yet God had already planted the seeds of restoration.  He had brought about my double portion of joy, Asher (happy) Tate (happy.)  God used him to bring a sense of completeness to our family as well as quench my desires for another girl.

Our daughter has a name. It isn’t any name that we would have chosen on our own, but it totally fits her.  Her name is Daisy.  When God allowed us to see the Gerbera daisy the same day we found out about our girl, we knew He was being extra gentle in giving us something tangible to hold onto until we could see her again.

I still have our matching aprons.  My small garden is scattered with gerberas. She would have been three in a few weeks.  I miss her madly. I look over the prayers I prayed over her and realize that God has answered so many of them.  Satan never touched her.  She does others good and not harm.  She has such awe for the name of Jesus. The delight of the Lord is all over her. Every single day, her soul proclaims that all is well.

Straight into the Father’s arms she went.  We share the beautiful inheritance of knowing and loving the One True God.  One day, we will sing His praises together, hand in hand.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Exposure {Nothing is Hidden}

This is what I feel like is happening right now…

Light shines in the darkness.  We think of that in such glorious terms, and it truly is!  But, I think since late June, God has taken a huge spotlight, cranked it up to the highest power, and pointed it towards our nation.  The light is uncovering just how dark we are.  It’s almost as if He is saying, “You are an evil nation.  Let me show you just how bad you are.  There is no more hiding or sweeping things under the rug.  I am shining a light so that you can SEE for yourselves just how far things have gone.”

This is the theme I can’t get out of my head.  Since late June (only one month ago!), we have had unthinkable things rise to the surface.  The state of Oregon now allows 15 year olds to have a gender change without their parent’s consent.  Planned Parenthood sells aborted baby parts.  Marines have been killed by hate. Our President made a deal with Iran, a nation who isn’t afraid to call our country the “Big Satan.” People are either losing their jobs, resigning, or being ridiculously fined for expressing their freedoms of belief. Caitlyn (aka Bruce) Jenner was awarded the ESPY award for courage?!! Ashley Madison’s infidelity website has been hacked, exposing the sin of individual hearts.  The military is training in various southern states of America for eight solid weeks and their motto is “Master the Human Domain.”  This has all taken place in the last month.

This is not a time for fear.  But, this is the time to open our eyes and beg God to allow us to see!  We know that God is the one shining the light on all the things that break His heart.  We know He holds the standard of light and holiness as well as the cleansing only He can graciously provide.  Lord, have mercy on us and bring us back to your heart.

Today, instead of telling God what is on your heart, pause and ask God what is on His heart regarding our crumbling nation.  What He says might surprise you.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is being uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

Monday, July 13, 2015

True Light

Darkness Darkness all around.  It permeates through the screen and jumps onto my skin, daring to seep deeply. It percolates and drips slowly at first and then alarmingly fast until the whole pot is discolored black.  It mocks me at the checkout line and sneers at me when I turn on the television. 

From the looks of things, it appears as though the darkness has won. So many are enslaved in this affair with the pitch black.  Vile and filth breed in the murky waters of indifference and corruption. The pride and the hate and the abuse and the murder scream into my ears, threatening my sanity.

The black flag of evil is flying high.

But, it isn’t my banner.

Rescued, I was, from this lightless pit.

During the ancient plagues of Exodus, the darkness was so thick that no one could see anyone or move about for three whole days.  Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they dwelled.

God’s light shined on His people then as it shines on His own now.  His Spirit blazes through my pores and His Word marks my footsteps. Even in the alien world of blackness, God’s light dawns every single morning for those bathed in bloody grace.

The light of Christ living within is needed in this hour.

While our fellow friends-family-foes grope in the foul depravity, they are searching for something, anything, which will fulfill.

We can extend the light that was extended to us.

We often feel our wicks are about to go out; we are so listless, tired, even depressed.  We must ask Jesus to blow onto our flickering lights, and burn our insides afresh with His presence. Even at our weakest, the light of the Holy can pour forth, changing lives and rescuing the God-image called mankind. We are not useless, powerless, forgotten, or extinguished.  We are more than conquerors in this world.  We are, dare I say, victorious.

One day, our lights within won’t be needed.  The heavenly bodies, lamps, candles, and flames will be discarded.  All eyes will be on the True Light.  All knees will bow to the Light of the World.

Rays emanate from your Holy stature.  You plucked the moon like a giant grape and trampled it like wine.  The stars—even the sun-king—came to You in reverent obedience as You called each one by name.  You told them they had served their purpose and they gratefully bowed low and extinguished before the True Light.  All did not seem dark, but brighter.  Purer.  All eyes were on the Source.


Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear?

 The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?


Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.


Psalm 112:4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.


Psalm 43:3  Send out your light and your truth;

 let them lead me;  let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!


Revelation 22:5

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp of the light of the sun,

 for the Lord God will give them light.  And they will reign for ever and ever.


{Glory.  Hallelujah.}

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Making Ourselves at Home in God's Love {John 15}

Just think of it.  All of this life giving sap comes from one source alone:  Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  All who feast on this sap will be taken care of forever by the Father-Farmer.  The true church of God will never be destroyed.  The gates of hell will not prevail against His Bride.

We, the church, have one primary role, knowing that there is only one thing that we can offer such a life-giving King:  our allegiance that has been birthed out of love.  With love comes devotion and with devotion comes obedience.  The secret to it all is found in the word abide.

The Greek would say, “meno,” which means to stay in a given place, to continue, to dwell, or to remain.  Father-Farmer offers His life giving sap through his only Son and all He asks is that we continue to swim in it.  Don’t deprive ourselves from it.  Enjoy it. Make ourselves at home in it.

We abide and Father-Farmer produces rich fruit that points back to His glory. There is no fruit in and of ourselves.  The whole point is that once separated from the vine, we can do nothing.

Father-Farmer likes it this way.  Giving is His way. We simply can’t steal His glory by thinking we can give out to others from our own barrenness. 

As we abide in this grace-love, we allow Christ’s words to abide in us.  We permit these teachings to stay, continue, dwell, and remain in the rich soil of our souls. These spoken words of the Son will take root, allowing seeds to sprout, and green stalks to rise.  Fruit will take shape and ripen. We pluck a piece right off and share it with others.  As the sweet juice runs down our chins, we throw our heads back in laughter, realizing how it tastes just like the Father-Farmer and His joyful banner of love.

We taste.  We see.  He is good.

We decide to make ourselves at home right here in God’s love. 

“Keep thou close to thy soul’s Husband, lean thy head upon His bosom, ask to be refreshed with the spiced wine of His pomegranate, and thou shalt be found of Him at the last, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.”

 Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, July 2, 2015

True Freedom {God's Banner}

Praising God today for the freedom of my grace washed soul.  My facebook feed is either the colors of the rainbow or the colors of the Confederate flag.  I don't know what colors they are, but I wave the colors of the one who bled for me.  God's banner over me is love. I rest in that.  I celebrate that. My citizenship is with God.  He is King. In the meantime, I submit to a national authority that was put in place by God.  But, if I have to choose between obeying God or obeying nation, I will choose God.  Today, I am thankful that some measure of freedom exists for Believers in the United States of America. It may come crumbling down very quickly, but today I celebrate.

His banner over me is love.

I can't wait to see what those colors look like.